Splitting the Difference

When the cat split—it’s head growing, morphing, slowly tripling all of its features—that’s when I realized:

It probably wasn’t a cat. Continue reading “Splitting the Difference”

Boxed Value

The key to scavenging is:

Recognizing something with potential value.

If you’re ambling around a wrecked city, you can’t stop to look at everything. Wrecked cities are chock-full of nasties. Monsters that have been mutated, people that are hungry enough that they’ll eat anyone, falling debris. Havocked Cities—or, as we call them, HC’s—are extraordinarily dangerous. Especially if you’re unfamiliar with that planet’s history. And, as a scavenger, it’s not that often that you can get your hands on a reliable, sturdy, in-tact history of a planet. So, instead of muck around, we get right to business:

We make assessments.

Eyeball where the valuable things are, and head out for those. Taking apart the whole city is a waste. HC’s are way, way too dangerous to play around in. You’re likely to lose a life or a limb trying to pick the whole place apart.

So.

We learn a few tricks.

After all, it’s always been said:

A scavenger’s eye can’t be beat.

Continue reading “Boxed Value”

Devil’s Well

I’m not a people person. Everyone in this desolate wasteland of a town knows it. It’s glaringly obvious. Like an old oak standing alone in the desert. This town is small enough that they all know I’m gruff. Grumpy, even. A little surly. But, that’s only because I don’t interact with people much. I’m harmless really, but still.

Yeah, I’m not a people person.

But, who can blame me?

When this is the price to be paid for interacting with others…

If this is what comes attached with people…

Why would I be a people person? Continue reading “Devil’s Well”

Bog Monster

Whenever I passed the bog, I made sure to avert my eyes. Made sure to walk quietly, move quickly. When possible, I avoided the bog. Skipped that part of the woods altogether.

No one told me that it was dangerous. Nobody explained what lurked in the water. What kind of things belonged to bogs. No one had to. I just knew:

I didn’t want to find out. Continue reading “Bog Monster”

Winter Beast

It falls. Blankets and exhales of it, raining from the sky. Dropping like a thousand little bites of blistering cold. Nipping at the inside of your skin as you walk, as you breathe, as you move. The Miser himself couldn’t do better.

It’s freezing, that’s the point I’m trying to make.

Freezing, and white, and windy as all hell.

And still, I can’t stop.

Can’t stop.

It’s right behind, you know. Right behind. Trailing through the snow. Sniffing me out. Big, bushy coat keeping it warm while I freeze. While I run, endlessly, through this winter underworld.

I tell you what:

It’s hell. Continue reading “Winter Beast”

Kindly Magic

The first night I saw him, I thought he was a possum, staring through my window. With his shiny eyes, and his malicious grin, I thought he was a possum under the porch. Staring through my basement window because he was curious.

I was not entirely wrong.

He was no possum. On that account, I was definitely wrong.

But.

He is infinitely curious. Continue reading “Kindly Magic”

Spirit of Halloween

Cold wind bristles the trees. Leaves scatter as the children move like sheep, walking from house to house. Collecting their treats.

Not understanding.

Cute princesses and adorable pirates. Kids dressed as faux vampires, scruffy werewolves, and pop-star zombies. Silly costumes, trivial things.

Things that won’t trick.

Not in the slightest.

They’ve no idea why they’re dressing up. What the goal is.

But I do.

I know.

And I partake properly.

Not because I’m stingy. Or because I’m some crazy “purist”. But because I know.

I believe.

Tonight—and tonight only—it’s happening. They’re here.

They’re out.

Continue reading “Spirit of Halloween”

Coming of Storms

It was a dark night.

But it wasn’t stormy. Regardless of the rolling thunder, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Not a flash of lightning to be seen. Yet, still.

There was thunder.

Rummaging against the ground. Pounding into the dirt as they moved. Marching forward, as only a band of travelers can.

The night was dark and clear.

And full of hammering thunder.

A night to be reckoned with. Continue reading “Coming of Storms”

Abandoning the Rescue

“DIIIIIIIIIE!” he shouted as bullets barraged his target from the barrel of his gun.

He was enjoying this way too much. It wasn’t hard to see that.

It was the end of the world and Tanner Wilks was having a great time.

What an idiot.

That was probably why we were partners though. Why we made such a great team.

Someone had to do the thinking.

Or we’d all be zombie chow. Continue reading “Abandoning the Rescue”

Mouse In Escape

Cat and mouse is not about the ending.

It’s about the start. The build. The two players, and, of course:

The inevitability of it all.

A mouse can run, and a mouse can hide, and a mouse can drop as many anchors, or ironing boards, or sharp objects, as he’d like, but it won’t matter.

You can’t stop a cat.

Not when they’re on the hunt. Continue reading “Mouse In Escape”